Begin with the end in mind

The Christmas tree is up, lights twinkling, all bright and lovely in the bay window of my living room.

Treena Mielke


The Christmas tree is up, lights twinkling, all bright and lovely in the bay window of my living room.

The lace curtains, which aren’t really curtains at all, but lengths of lace bought cheaply by me at IKEA about 100 years ago, are gone, replaced by really good, expensive window coverings that amaze people, me included.

The tired dirty blue rug in the living room has been torn up and gone to a place where such tired, dirty blue rugs go, never to be seen again.

In its place is my new floor made of veneer or something, all shiny, new and clean and hardly walked on at all, and definitely not urinated on by a misbehaving puppy. And I am proud and happy and pretty sure I didn’t spend too much because of the deal I got. Well, the guy said it was a deal and who am I to judge.

I am sitting at the piano, on my brand new piano bench, which has been a work in progress work thing in the garage for several months. I am dressed simply, but nicely, playing Christmas carols effortlessly and my fingers glide over the keys like I know what I’m doing and all my latent musical talent is bursting forth sort of naturally, like it is supposed to.

I have the old coal oil lamp, the one that apparently belonged to my mom lit, and it casts a really cool glow over me and the piano bench and the new floor and the tree and it is all good.

Okay, so none of the above has really happened and, who knows, some of it may never happen, but in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says, “begin with the end in mind.”

And, so there you go! I’m beginning, at least. After all, you gotta start somewhere.

I thought about getting the tree out the other day when the three little boys came to visit, but other things got in the way, and before I knew it their mom was back to scoop them up and take them to their skating thing. I was left with a basement full of toys, three dozen slightly burned cookies, minus about a dozen that got eaten, some by me, some by other adults, but mostly by two little boys.

The baby is only seven months old and too young to eat slightly burned double chocolate chip cookies, eating instead some concoction of banana and apple sauce, fed to him by me with this little tiny plastic coated spoon that was almost, but not quite, hidden in my knife and fork drawer. He certainly gobbled up the stuff, anyway, sitting on my knee, covering me and him with the gooey concoction and rewarding me in the end with a big, wide, open mouth grin.

“You are so cute,” I tell him, sounding so grandma like, all mushy and gooey, kind of like the baby food, but seriously, I can’t believe how happy I feel when he nestles his dear little head in my shoulder. It’s like nothing else matters much!

Anyway, as far as playing Christmas carols, my music teacher gave me three new ones to learn. They are not new, of course, but old, but the point is, they are new to me and, at this moment which still happens to be in November, I cannot play them very well at all.

But, I’m figuring by my next lesson, I will rock! And then I will learn three more, and before Christmas arrives, I will skim through the book, and will be labeled by friends and families as a Christmas carol player, extraordinaire.

True, I have that objective every year, and somehow it never happens cause I get all busy with other stuff and am exhausted and flop on the couch to watch another Christmas special on the Hallmark channel, managing to find the Christmas spirit through stuff that may or may not be make believe.

I like to think the stuff I watch is real and true and good and Christmas magic does really exist.

Well, actually, I don’t think, I know. It is true! I am a believer!


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